General Description:

The genus Kennedia consists of around 16 species, all of which are Australian endemics and all are either climbing or trailing plants. Some, such as K.retrorsa and K.nigricans, are extremely vigorous climbers. K.prostrata, on the other hand, is a non-climbing species which grows as a scrambling ground cover to about 2.5 metres in diameter. The leaves are grey-green and divided into three leaflets, a characteristic of the genus. The leaves are about 5 – 25 mm in diameter with undulating margins.

The flowers are of typical “pea” shape consisting of 4 petals; the “standard”, the “keel” and two “wings” as shown in the diagram. They are dull red in colour and occur in short racemes in the leaf axils in spring. They are about 25 – 30 mm long. The flowers are followed by flat seed pods 50 mm long.

Pea flower diagram

K.prostrata is a widely cultivated species which is hardy in moist, well drained soils. It is suited to temperate to sub-tropical areas. It prefers a sunny or semi-shaded position. Under extended dry conditions it may die back to the root system and re-shoot when conditions improve. It is an excellent plant for cultivation in hanging baskets.

Propagation is easy from seed following pre-treatment to break the physical dormancy provided by the impervious seed coat. Pre-treatment can be carried out by abrasion or by the use of boiling water (further details can be found in under the “Propagation” tab of the “Pea Family” page). The seed retains viability for many years. Cuttings strike well using firm, current season’s growth.

 

Plant profile image

Kennedia prostrata
Photo: Brian Walters

 

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